Bipartisan Legislation Cosponsored by Senator Baldwin Passes the Senate
Improves training & support for first responders to respond to incidents such as oil train derailments in Wisconsin & across the country
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to support first responders passed the Senate on Tuesday. The Railroad Emergency Services Preparedness, Operational Needs, and Safety Evaluation (RESPONSE) Act, introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), improves training and support for first responders to respond to incidents such as oil train derailments in Wisconsin and across the Country.
“First responders put themselves in danger every day in order to keep our families safe,” said Senator Baldwin. “The danger facing Wisconsin residents living near rail lanes has materialized quickly. In the past year Wisconsin has had three major oil train derailments. There are more than 40 oil trains a week passing through Wisconsin, and that number is growing. As more and more volatile crude oil moves through Wisconsin by rail, it is critical that appropriate safety measures are in place to reduce the risk of deadly accidents and that our emergency personnel have the training, resources, and support to respond in case of tragedy.”
Last year in Wisconsin, there were train derailments in Alma, Watertown, and Superior. Senator Baldwin has been pushing to make sure first responders have the tools and resources they need when responding to hazmat incidents on the rails to keep Wisconsin’s communities strong and safe.
The bipartisan legislation will enable first responders to get quality training and have access to the appropriate resources and effective communications. Specifically, the bill would establish a public-private council that combines emergency responders, federal agencies, and leading experts to review training and best practices for first responders. This council, co-chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), would provide Congress with expert recommendations on how to address first responders’ safety needs with increased railway safety challenges so they can best protect communities across the country. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2015 by U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI).
In addition to Senator Baldwin, the legislation was cosponsored by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).
For more on Senator Baldwin’s advocacy for Wisconsin rail safety click here.
Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
After Charlottesville Attack, Baldwin and Twenty-Three Senators Press DHS on Trump Administration’s De-emphasis of Domestic Terrorism EffortsAug 19th, 2017 by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and a group of 23 other Senators are pressing the Department of Homeland Security on questions arising from the Trump Administration’s apparent de-emphasis on protecting Americans from domestic terrorism.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Applauds Congressional Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Overhaul VA Appeals ProcessAug 18th, 2017 by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Bipartisan VA reform now heads to President’s desk to be signed into law
At Mid-State Technical College, Senator Baldwin unveiled the PARTNERS Act to invest in public-private partnerships for apprenticeships